MY DREAM IS TO STAND ON MY FEET
According to UNESCO’s data, 258 million children and youth are out of school, 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and even do simple math. Nearly 4 million children and youth asylum seekers cannot go to school. Turkey hosts hundreds of thousands of children and youth asylum seekers who have overcome their bad luck and aim to make their dreams come true by providing education opportunities. Sidra K. is one of these young people, 21 years old. She came from Syria to Turkey when she was 14. Sidra continues university for a better life with the support of her mother who was married at a young age. Sidra is a third-year student at Çukurova University Faculty of Economics, she would like to get a master’s and doctorate to have a great job.
Sidra was in Aleppo with her family when the Syrian War began. She had to study by candlelight for two years because of the war. After Sidra, her mother and her sister fled from Syria to Adana, she started to the second grade of High School. Sidra said that she got used to school and Turkish easily because she loved her Turkish teacher at school. Explaining that her mother is the biggest supporter in her education life, Sidra said, “My mother could only study until the 6th grade. She goes to language courses in Turkey. I learned a lot from her. One of them is not to give up. My goal is to enroll in a university. What my mother wants most is for me to stand on my own feet after completing my education. Her motivation in life and not giving up is an example to me.” Sidra works hard for the foreign student exam and she wants to buy a house for her family after she works.
She highlights that education has crucial importance in the life of refugees. She says ‘Individuals can cope with difficulties and become strong thanks to education. This is implied both for women and men. When you come here, you know nothing and you don't know anyone. Where will you stay? Where will you work? When you get an education and develop yourself, you can work and take care of yourself and your family, and you can do everything you need yourself.”
Seref Mert Yoleri, Director of Adana Al Farah Child and Family Support Center which run by the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (SGDD-ASAM) partnered with UNICEF, said that Sidra has joined psychosocial events in the center since she came to Turkey, thus the center provides Sidra’s not only social cohesion with locals but also knowledge of a new country's trust. Yoleri, also attention to the importance of education for peace and development, said that Al Farah Child and Family Supports Center supports the enhancement of psychosocial well-being, social cohesion activities, and providing information and knowledge needed in life to asylum seekers and their families.
“We provide referral and counseling via Al Farah Child and Family Support Center in different cities in Turkey to provide education services to out-of-school children and enhance the rate of enrolment. Once a child began his/her education, we also give necessary referrals or counseling to adapt to the school and to refer for benefit from psychological psychological support mechanisms and counseling system. Yoleri also explains that they refer adults to educational training for their participation in employment and organize activities for parents to the importance of education.